Edition 2003

European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award 2003. Act of the Jury

The jury of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2003 has decided that this year's prize will be given to the Car Park and Terminus Hoenheim North, in Strasbourg, by Zaha Hadid.

At its first meeting in Barcelona on January 25-26, 2003 the jury considered 269 submissions, nominated by independent experts and the national architects' associations from all over Europe. The jury made a selection of 41 works for inclusion in the exhibition and catalogue of the 2003 edition of the prize.

Five works were selected for special consideration for the prize:

Chassé Park Apartments
Xaveer De Geyter / Xaveer De Geyter Architects
Breda, The Netherlands

Car Park and Terminus Hoenheim North
Zaha Hadid / Zaha Hadid Architects
Strasbourg, France

Palais de Tokyo - Site for Contemporary Creation
Anne Lacaton, Jean Philippe Vassal / Lacaton & Vassal Architectes
Paris, France

Hagen Island
Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries / MVRDV
The Hague, The Netherlands

Scharnhauser Park Town Hall
Jürgen Mayer H.
Ostfildern, Germany

During May 1 and May 2 the jury visited the works. On May 3 the jury met in Paris to consider the awarding of the prize.

The jury debated the various merits of the shortlisted works. All works were praised for their intelligence and interpretation of their respective tasks.

The housing project by Xaveer De Geyter, Chassé Park Apartments, was praised for its success in creating a powerful composition that found consistency from the urban gesture, organisation of site, planning of the apartments, construction and the handling of materials. The jury was impressed by the positive attitude of the residents, who clearly enjoyed living there.

The project by MVRDV, Hagen Island, took a more provocative approach to the programme of housing. The work was enjoyed by the jury and provoked much debate. The manipulation of familiar forms and the nearly sceptical approach towards design, could have resulted in a project that relied too heavily on effect, however the intelligence of the urban approach and the obvious consideration of the project has created a domestic environment of extraordinary quality.

The Scharnhauser Park Town Hall by Jürgen Mayer H. was admired by all as a work of high quality and sophistication. As a first work it is especially remarkable. The building sits within a developing masterplan and as such the success of its position is still difficult to assess. Some criticism was made of the tendency to over-articulate the building. However the jury had no reservation in awarding it the prize of the Emerging Architect Special Mention.

The Palais de Tokyo was the cause of great satisfaction on the part of the jury. The familiar problem of bringing cultural programmes to large and abandoned buildings was approached with extraordinary intelligence and skill. The jury also appreciated the success of the working relationship established between the client and the building. The jury found the project provocative and convincing.

The work of Zaha Hadid has become universally appreciated. She has held an avant-garde position for many years. Surprisingly then the jury's decision in selecting her project above some of the others rested in its conventional architectural qualities. Despite its obvious graphic and scenographic power, the physical presence of the 'building' is totally convincing. The jury appreciated the economy of the project, with minimum means, not only the 'shelter' of the tram station but the surrounding field of car parking has been invested with great care and a place of great intensity and elegance has been created from an apparently innocent opportunity.